Dogs in Review Interviews Ronnie Irving, Chairman of the Kennel Club (U.K.)

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The grace, beauty and variety of dogs proudly exhibited stirred public interest. Breeders strove to improve and standardize their favorites, recording the dogs’ genealogies in studbooks to preserve breed purity. Newly evolved dogs like the Sealyham, Boston Terrier and Doberman Pinscher caught the public fancy. Kennel clubs sprang up from Austria to Australia, from Canada to Ceylon.” (The National Geographic Book of Dogs, 1958)

These pieces began to fall into place in the early 20th century in response to worldwide interest in purebred dogs. The fact that it happened at all is a testament to the universal appeal of dogs that crosses every boundary; the fact that these opportunities survived multiple wars and years of unrest is a testament to the unwavering determination of dog lovers.

The founding of the Kennel Club in Great Britain in 1873 provided neighboring countries impetus to create similar organizations. Europe’s first national kennel clubs were founded in Belgium, France and Germany. Despite the pervasive interest in purebred dogs, each one evolved in response to unique factors. For instance, in Germany delegates from a multitude of regional clubs convened in Hannover in 1880 to create a stud book and establish mutually acceptable show rules. This was substantially different from the events leading to the creation of the Kennel Club. The first volume of Germany’s national stud book contained 334 dogs, including a large proportion of British setters and pointers. British breeds were widely admired throughout Europe and consequently dominated early Continental shows. This inevitably encouraged a somewhat patronizing attitude toward breeds that originated elsewhere. “In short, we English must not parade the virtues of our native dogs too fully before the world until we feel assured that under altered circumstances, our tykes would do as well as those we secretly despise, simply because we do not properly appreciate their worth.” (The Illustrated Book of the Dog)

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Eric Green   Acworth, GA

1/19/2009 1:58:30 AM

Editor,

I wanted to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Ronnie Irving. He was spot on in his opinion of the American dog show scene! We are an elitist group and if a similar issue arises (such as that of the current British scene) we only have ourselves to blame. The article regarding the health issue within the Dalmatian community gives evidence that some of us are light years behind in our thinking. From judges, to breeders to the so called professional handlers (not all but a good number of them) we look down our noses at everyone and isolate ourselves from commonsense thinking. Although I am not a fan of PETA or the so called humane society, I do see how our lame excuses for being the way we are will be our undoing. All this talk of what is needed and what the fancy needs to do falls on deaf ears. There is a better way to do things but are we really concerned with the future of the sport and the health of our dogs? Sadly, this society as a whole lacks compassion, decency, respect for others and humility and the dog game is just a reflection of a larger
picture.

E.
Green
Atlanta, Ga

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